Why Good People Suffer

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“Why do good people suffer or why do bad things happen to good people?” This question seems to be very common these days. It seems as though good people get the brunt of all suffering, while evil-doers enjoy life. But if we observe closely, we see that everyone undergoes suffering in some form. Keeping this in mind, our question becomes meaningless. Just because a person is good does not mean there would be no suffering in his/her life. But what do we mean by „good‟? In Sanskrit, „sadhu‟ is the word used for a good person. Sadhu comes from the word „saadh‟, meaning „to accomplish‟. If we work for ourselves and achieve great things, there is nothing laudable about it, but if we help others to achieve their goals, then it is an accomplishment. If someone is good to you and you reciprocate, that is common courtesy. But if someone is harming you, and despite that you continue to wish that person well without expecting anything in return, it is real goodness. A sadhu bathing in the river saw a drowning insect. He saved it from drowning and was stung in return. Again, the insect fell back into the river and the sadhu pulled it out of the water and placed it under a shady tree. On seeing this, a person asked the sadhu, “Why did you do that?” He replied, “The insect did not give up its nature, so why should I?” How can we achieve this goodness in our lives? To reach any target, we must first have a goal. Similarly, for achieving goodness, we must have a standard of goodness which is known to us, because only then can we rise up to the required levels. As long as we see differences in the world around us, true goodness will not manifest. This can be achieved only when we become aware of our oneness with others. An example will illustrate this point better. Every organ of my body is part of one whole. If the finger goes into the eye, there is instant forgiveness, because of the complete identification with the finger. Now that we know what is good, let us see what...
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